HHS wants 30% of its systems in the cloud this year

By Jessica Davis
03:29 PM
The agency currently uses a dozen approved cloud service providers.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services plans to increase the adoption rate of cloud services this year from 18.5 percent to 30 percent of its systems, HHS Chief Information Officer Beth Killoran said Tuesday during a Federal News Radio online interview.

HHS became the first federal agency to authorize a cloud service provider through the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program in May 2013. Killoran said cloud adoption went from 1 percent in 2015 to 18.5 percent in 2016 -- including an HHS financial system upgrade.

The agency currently uses a dozen approved cloud service providers.

“This sponsorship has enabled the Federal government greater competition among providers while ensuring that the services they provide meet our stringent security requirements,” Killoran said.

“We have worked to embrace cloud,” she said. “If you do cloud properly, the implementation should be transparent to the workforce. When we did our financial systems upgrade last year, we had to provide training on the new capabilities -- not the platform. The effort has been a great success.”

Effectively governing HHS can be a challenge, Killoran said. It takes longer for change to take hold in a federated agency, but that doesn’t prevent success.

Cybersecurity is another goal for HHS, and the agency is working with private partners to bolster its security.

“Our goal is to provide our employees with the tools necessary to perform their jobs and accomplish their mission,” she said. “We have worked to provide employees with laptops, smartphones and WIFI, but have to balance these capabilities with our cyber-risks.”

The Office of Inspector General found weaknesses in HHS security training, incident response, risk management and identity and access management in a March report, though HHS is actively making improvements.

Twitter: @JessieFDavis
Email the writer: jessica.davis@himssmedia.com

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